I need a dominating close to the regular season to get out from under water for the NFL season.
Week 15 wasn't great, with a 2-3-1 ATS mark overall, and a 1-2 ATS mark with my underdogs. This week, though, I feel like my underdogs are well-positioned to cover.
Here's my week 16 NFL picks with my favorite three underdogs that will cover the spread.
Underdogs: 19-25-1 ATS
Overall: 38-49-1 ATS
Denver (+3.5) at Washington
Maybe every quarterback would be exposed with the lack of weapons Kirk Cousins currently has at his disposal. The problem for Cousins is that he's constantly being scrutinized, so with the injuries piling up, things aren't looking good for Cousins and the Redskins.
It's been well-documented about the troubles with the offensive line. Injuries have completely decimated that unit, and in the last three games, the Redskins are averaging an NFL-low 2.5 yards per carry. The once-potent passing game also is having major issues.
Cousins needs more weapons. He needs pass-catching running backs, a dominant tight end and a receiver who can take the top off the defense. Those people aren't around anymore. And that's making it difficult for the Redskins to score.
Against the Broncos, that will present even more of a problem. Denver has played better in recent weeks, especially against the pass. Washington struggles against the run at times, which is something Denver is having some success with in recent weeks. Denver has better personnel, and as long as they're motivated, should win this game straight up. -- Go Against The Chalk with Denver
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee (+7)
Every time I go against the Rams, I usually have some troubles.
So why not try one more time?
The Rams are good. But are they really as good as we saw in week 15? I picked Los Angeles last week to cover and win, based on the matchup being in their favor. Seattle let that snowball, so now everybody believes the Rams are world beaters (which they're close) and the Titans are an also-ran.
Tennessee is a consistently average team. In the NFL, as long as you have a little luck go your way, that can win you nine to 10 games.
The Titans aren't bad, though, so they'll keep this game close. Tennessee has a good enough defense to keep up, along with an offense that can run the ball at times and take up time.
That's what's necessary against this high-powered Rams offense. Don't discount Los Angeles having to play Philadelphia at home in week 14, go on the road in week 15 against division rival Seattle and then return to the road to face a Tennessee team desperate for a win.
The Rams are the better team, but the Titans are good enough to keep this close, and the Rams should have some exhaustion. -- Go Against The Chalk with Tennessee
Pittsburgh at Houston (+10)
It's tough to trust a team that just got waxed 45-7 and hasn't won since mid-November, but I'll give the Texans one more shot.
Pittsburgh is legendary for playing up and down to its competition, especially on the road. The Steelers beat Cleveland, Indianapolis and an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay team by three points apiece. They also lost on the road to Chicago.
Nobody's saying that either of those teams are on Pittsburgh's level. But for some reason, the Steelers play down to that kind of competition. Now, I get Pittsburgh traveling on the road on Christmas day, after playing hard-fought games against Cincinnati, Baltimore and New England.
And Pittsburgh's defensive leader is out with injury, along with likely its best offensive player. The Texans have been terrible in recent weeks, but they should still be able to run the football a little on this Pittsburgh defense. And I'm not so sure if the Steelers defense will be as dominant as many believe, since Pittsburgh is giving up 6.3 yards per play on defense in the last three games, up from its season average of 5.2.
Houston is the worse team, but there's enough talent to keep up with a Pittsburgh team that loves to play down to its competition. -- Go Against The Chalk with Houston
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH